Sadly, I am writing to give honor and acknowledgement to Michael Moore, a dear friend of BeadforLife, who passed away recently.
In 2004, in the earliest days of BeadforLife, I returned to British Columbia for a summer holiday. I had a bag full of beads and high hopes. At an evening gathering I was speaking to a group of friends who were listening intently to the story of women, refugees from Northern Uganda, who were working for a dollar a day in a rock quarry.
A small group of women were making beads out of recycled paper and a big colorful pile of beads was spread out on a table. I said something like “I don’t know how to sell these online and I need someone to help me build a website.” Michael Moore immediately replied that he would build BeadforLife a website and a functioning online store pro bono! This immediately gave me great joy and comfort. The website was vital to our moving forward and Michael made it possible.
True to his word he began immediately, opening our first website in the first days of December 2004. It was beautiful and functional and ready just in time for the shoppers who came as a result of a small article in O Magazine. Michael remained our webmaster for the next ten years redesigning and improving the website continually.
He also edited and published The Bead, our monthly newsletter. In 2006 when I told him that the members were writing songs about BeadforLife he suggested that we record them singing and in time he and his sound engineer flew to Uganda. He was an immediate favorite of the beaders, as he helped them prepare for the recording. On the big day, Michael led the singers into the National Theater, which we had rented for half a day. Everyone was excited and amazed to actually be singing in the National Theater! Michael patiently and brilliantly coached and encouraged the choir and a beautiful recording was made, From the Heart of BeadforLife.
It has been a part of our Marketplace boxes, so many of you have probably heard this music. You can also order it online.
Michael was truly a generous soul working to strengthen our outreach and capacity to tell our stories. He made an enormous difference to BeadforLife and we will not forget him and his contributions. Michael had a wacky sense of humor and a unique point of view making him a one of a kind guy. He was an accomplished musician and delighted us with his music, which is especially cherished now. He leaves behind his beloved wife Sophie, and three fine adult children, as well as many circles of friends.
Thank you Michael for your many gifts to women and their families a world away. We feel proud and privileged to have you as our colleague and dear friend. We miss you. Rest in peace.
Donations in Michael’s name can be made to BeadforLife here.